America heading towards an economic armageddon

… so says Stephen Roach, the chief economist at investment banking giant Morgan Stanley, according to this article. The statistics are staggering: To finance its current account deficit with the rest of the world, he said, America has to import $2.6 billion in cash. Every working day. That is an amazing 80 percent of the entire world’s net savings. Sustainable? Hardly. Meanwhile, he notes that household debt is at record levels.

In the US of A, public asks for permission from corporates

It is interesting to see how the lives of people in USA are increasingly being taken over by corporates. Here is how Verizon forces/lobbies/oils the Pennsylvania Senate into passing a bill which makes it unlawful for municipalities or any government institutions to offer telecommunications services which competes against them. Quoting from the article: The Pennsylvania Senate passed House Bill 30 which prohibits municipalities from delivering telecommunications services for compensation if it competes with private enterprise.

A record company with a difference

A record company which takes its fingers out of some of the jars, and offers its albums under a Creative Commons licence! Positron! Records also has a kickass official statement on this matter, saying: Positron! Records is pleased to announce that our artists now have the option of releasing their works under Creative Commons licenses. Unlike those who suffer from what we like to call “major label retardation,” we here at Positron!

Patents - the new tradeable goods in town

Great! Here is a company whose reason for existence is to trade in patents. They don’t implement any of it, they just keep filing or buying ‘em and selling ‘em. They say that the firm was founded to invest in innovation and invention. Lessig also writes: In 1991, according to The Patent Wars by Fred Warshofsky, Bill Gates said this about software patents: If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today.

IT vs other engineering fields

Cringely puts it well in this article: IT used to do this, decades ago, but no more. Today, IT is based mostly on selling general ideas. The requirements gathering process is superficial. The project proposal is mostly a “shell of an idea.” IT projects have lots of meetings, lots of issues to be resolved, lots of management to coordinate things. The workers rarely spend more than 35 percent of their time actually accomplishing something FOR the project.

When inspiration and plagiarism cross

Is our heritage of culture and knowledge all based on original ideas? There have been countless plays written around scenes from Ramayana, Mahabharata, Kalidasa, Premchand, Rabindranath Tagore, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhya and innumerable others. These people or works of art have themselves been inspired by the litreature and culture in their times. Isn’t that what heritage is all about? You build upon your history and create the present and the foundations of the future?

Serious and Funny coffee making tips

I am starting off a new category of blogs called Pop Cuisine. I call it that ‘coz I am no elite food critic, but I enjoy food good enough to talk and gush about it. My comments on food, or my views on how food should be, is solely based on taste - my taste. So if I find something good (or good enough), and you don’t … too bad. This is my blog.

Preventing mobile phone theft

After my cellphone was stolen from my car dashboard a few months back, I was left really mad, and I tried to convince my mobile operator Hutch to blacklist the phone IMEI. The operator told me that it was not worth the trouble because the IMEI of stolen mobile phones could be changed, and anyway there was too much paperwork involved in blocking the phone by IMEI. There is currently an interesting thread at India-GII about this.

My college photo gallery tops search results for my college!

Aargh! Just discovered from my logs that my college photo gallery is the first result given by a Google search for “REC Jalandhar” (Check here). Even before the college website itself! Since I have forbidden robot access to the Photo gallery (to keep it a little more private, if such a thing is possible), I expect this “anomaly” to get corrected in a month or two.